Town Square

Post a New Topic

Canopy reacts to axing of California Ave. trees

Original post made on Sep 18, 2009

Palo Alto's tree stewards, Canopy, the nonprofit that has worked to maintain and expand the city's urban forest by planting thousands of trees, said they were stunned by this week's cutting down of 50 mature trees on California Avenue.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 18, 2009, 4:57 PM

Comments (94)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob Harrington
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 18, 2009 at 6:09 pm

If Canopy was surprised by the sudden removal of fifty 50-year-old oaks on California Avenue, I view that as a very bad sign regarding staff inter-departmental communication and City government communication with the community. This is particularly stunning in Palo Alto where nearly everyone greatly values trees.

Whoever thought that 'clear-cuttng' California Avenue was a good idea should soon be standing at attention before his supervisor's desk explaining his/her thinking. Then that individual, the supervisor, and the City Manager should stand up and explain it to the community. This should happen fast.

I was shopping on California Avenue today as the heat was building up, then I went to the post office in the next block that has a shade tree right out front. Huge difference.

This episode will serve as another 'Palo Alto Lesson Learned' for about the next decade until whatever new trees are planted on California Avenue provide meaningful shade again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 6:19 pm


To commit such a massacre, 50 living Oak Trees, the ecological niche for countless biodiversity, is a really stupid thing to do in Palo Alto.
This will go viral.

There was no notification in PA Weekly, etc, how come the PA press was not on this before the fact?

Is that not their job?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vince
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Once and for all current upper management people on city staff who are responsible for this debacle have to be made accountable for the bad decisions they have made. No more alibis! No more public relations gimmicks!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2009 at 7:05 pm

"The holly oaks "weren't performing the function of big, canopy trees in a shopping district," which provide the kind of attractiveness and shade to lure customers and visibility for businesses, she said.

"We thought it was wonderful to create a much better treescape," she said Friday.

But "we were very, very shocked, especially at the sudden occurrence of these tree removals. We were not aware this was going forward," Martineau said."

Translation: Canopy fully supported removing the holly oaks, then replacing them with red maples, and recommended that it be done. Now that Canopy got its way, it is whining at the people who took their recommendation and did the job. The real shock is how shocked Canopy pretends to be. Only in College Terrace!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 7:12 pm


Red Maples are ugly skeletons in the winter.
In the fall they loose their leaves which combined with rain creates an ugly and dangerously slippy pavement and road for pedestrians, cars and particularly bikes

This was a terrible decision which will take 30yrs to correct.

All you here along California Avenue is outrage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 7:12 pm


Red Maples are ugly skeletons in the winter.
In the fall they loose their leaves which combined with rain creates an ugly and dangerously slippy pavement and road for pedestrians, cars and particularly bikes

This was a terrible decision which will take 30yrs to correct.

All you here along California Avenue is outrage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David Dockter
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 18, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Several PA Town Online comments have queried or asked for my opinion or activity. I actually have been silent on the matter but do wish to help focus the issue in a positive way.

I have not been involved with the project for one reason or another, but the managing arborist for the city, Eric Krebs, has been capably advising. For specific information and the new plan and to review the tree data, please contact the CalAve capital improvement project manager Woojae Kim, Woojae.Kim@CityofPaloAlto.org, or Mike Sartor, Assistant Public Works Director, 650-329-2295. They have requested correspondence be directed to them for comprehensive response.

The City of Palo Alto projects web page may also have information at: Web Link

"The CAADA and Formal Public Works statement is as follows:

Cal Ave Trees: California Avenue Streetscape "Phase One" has begun. The overwhelming majority of the Holly Oak trees on California Ave. was either diseased, damaged or causing damage to sidewalks, and will be replaced. The reason for planting new trees at the same time is to ensure equal growth rates that will create a consistent looking canopy, as the trees mature. -- Currently, most of the existing street trees are Holly Oaks and many of them are diseased and in poor condition. Their branches cover street lights and grow over building storefronts and roofs requiring frequent tree trimming. They bear and drop large acorn fruits that are tripping hazards for pedestrians. The Holly Oaks will be replaced with Red Maples, deciduous trees that change color to deep red. Tree selections were made by the Public Works Tree Division and were well received by the California Avenue Area Development Association (CAADA). Red Maple is a fast growing tree that is tolerant to different soil conditions. They produce smaller seed fruits that are safer for pedestrians to walk over. With the replacement of street trees, the City standard tree wells with metal grates will be installed in concrete sidewalks which will bring a uniform look to the business district. The existing tree wells in sidewalks are open wells which may be tripping hazards."

On a personal note, retail district improvements should always have the best interest for improved Economic Vitality (when possible). Based on the best studies of consumers and business districts, it is clear that public preferences for green landscaping, shaded storefronts and green surroundings increase interest in the experience of shopping. The presence of a quality urban forest and landscape design positively influences shoppers' perceptions, behavior and spending preferences. Scientific studies have documented that shopping behavior is willing to spend several minutes browsing a shaded retail window (versus walking quickly past) and may spend as much as 9-12% more for products when compared to an unshaded shopping district with minimal to no quality landscape design in the immediate area. More on these studies from Kathy Wolf, PhD, can be found at www.cfr.washingfotn.edu/research.envmind

Lastly, for a general understanding of our community forest goals and principles, the city manager has provided for you an overview of our urban forest potential on our Palo Alto-See-it! site. There is an important PowerPoint presentation show reflecting our community that you can view and download for reporting, use as school project material or just use the pictures. You may need to enlarge the show to see it all correctly. Go to: Web Link (environmental protection/climate/healthy urban forest- then click on 'documents')

I hope this helps the conversation and perception of the city's urban forestry goals. Please exercise patience for our ability to assimilate the some of the newer concepts needed for a better and greener Palo Alto. Our Urban Forest Master Plan update has been on hold for quite some time, and would function as a central hub where all departments, development and projects would be following consistent policy, communication and quality control. The above issue is a glaring reason why it is needed and how it would assist staff in all departments.

Respectfully,

Dave Dockter
Environmental Planner/Landscape Advisor, ASCA, ISA, APA
City of Palo Alto, 250 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301 USA

650-329-2441 Web Link
Our Community Tree Canopy is a measurable utility
Providing infrastructure-based services and dividends, and is
Your local front line of defense against global climate change


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Hard to believe that canopy and Dave dockter, who put residents through he'll to remove a tree from private property, did not know about this. My guess is that now that the s--- has hit the fan, canopy, dockter, keane and the city council are trying to cover themselves by saying they did not know of it. Do you believe them ? I think Docktor should be fired. canopy should be relieved of their stewardship of our trees. Keane should resign and we should show our displeasure by not reelecting Larry Klein and not voting for kishimoto when she runs for assembly


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 7:57 pm


Photos of California Ave after the tree massacre and testimony from traumatized Palo Altans will determine the local elections.

This is an complete disaster for everyone who has their fingerprints on it and beyond. Self serving statements deepen the outrage.

Why was the local press not on top of this?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LWR
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Wow!! I just saw the new, clear-cut California Avenue avenue for the first time, and am outraged!! We go to the farmer's market every Sunday, buy our brunch from the assembled mix of vendors, and enjoy it under the shade of local a tree... or, rather, enjoy*ED* it under the shade of a tree!

I've heard a number of theories:

o "The trees were diseased."
o "Local vendors complained about sap dripping from trees onto cars parked in front of their establishments."
o ... (fill in your theory here)

My reactions are:

0. Heads must roll. It's going to be CA Ave vendors (see below), city employees (SEIU, watch out!!), and/or city representatives!

1. Who knew that the clear-cut was going to happen? Who didn't (but should have) know? Who is responsible for not knowing when they should have?

2. How about requiring public notification in advance of the destruction of any city property, e.g., 14 days' notice like: "NOTICE: This tree will be CUT DOWN by September 15, 2009, unless there are public objections to <contact info>"

3. Were any of the people responsible for this cut-down members of SEIU? If so, why shouldn't we just toss the entire unionized workforce out of our town?!?!?

4. If the second allegation ("Local vendors complained about sap dripping from trees onto cars parked in front of their establishments.") is true, who complained? Please expose the names of the local businesses that instigated the cutting-down of the trees on California Avenue.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ELF
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2009 at 9:20 pm

What a loss for all of us. California Street was the only shopping street in Palo Alto that retained a small town, local feeling (no longer a hardware store there but at least no chain stores). This will also greatly harm the merchants that the"renewal" project was supposed to help! I was on California street today and was horrified - wanted to get out of there ASAP. Just a tragedy. I have lost my faith in our city's ability to do its job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bikes2work
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Sep 18, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Are they sure these were 50-year old trees? Someone should count the rings on the stumps to verify their age. I don't think they are even 30 years old. I had heard they clear cut a different set of trees (Privet trees I think) in the late 70's or early 80's. Then they planted these Holly Oaks after that. This sounds like a bit of history repeating itself. I understand that Holly Oaks aren't native to California either. They are from the Mediterranean region. Web Link

Maybe someone can pin down the date of the previous Cal Ave tree clearing and look up some old Palo Alto Times articles. I think there was similar outrage back then. Seems to have all been forgotten until now. Although in this internet age, history seems to stop in 1997. Meanwhile, there is going to be a run on patio umbrellas by all the local restaurants.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by bikes2work
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Sep 18, 2009 at 9:54 pm

The trees are gone, and it is time to look forward. No one can bring them back. I've seen many comments in support of planting native trees to replace these former Holly Oaks. A quick check of Wikipedia reveals very few California species that even sound remotely suited: Web Link

I would think Red Maples probably need a lot of irrigation in the dry season. However, according to Wikipedia "the Red Maple is excellent at withstanding harsh urban conditions, including tolerance of both dry and wet soils". Maybe they won't be too bad.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by M
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Responding to bikes2work:

Ca. 1980, CAADA pressured the city into cutting down the Privet trees on California Ave. and replacing them with Holly Oaks. The Holly Oaks were trumpeted by the city and CAADA as the perfect tree for the street. I confirmed this with a friend today (i.e my memory isn't faulty). Don't buy the story that these were 50 year old trees. People were as shocked and angry then as they are now.

Also, be careful about accepting the story that the city arbolist wanted them all replaced at once. I am sure that the decision to clear cut was not his.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by my opinion
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2009 at 10:23 pm

i'm glad the trees were cut down. Diseased, sappy, or whatever, it was a horrible landscaping effort. I trust the powers that be to put in new trees that serve the area a lot better.

Tree people need to get a grip and recognize canopy's place is to offer an opinion. No one has to follow the opinion. And in this case it looks like no one cared about their opinion in the first place. Says something about how effective Canopy is if they knew nothing about this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Rose
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 5:09 am

Country Sun represents one of the Cal Ave merchants who supported the tree cut. Keeble and Shuchat and Molly Stone are two others. They knew before hand and have stated that the CITY came to THEM for recommendations (this was stated by a member of CAADA), which they gave. They are adamant that this was a necessary action.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Rose
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 5:14 am

Just to get something straight. No one said the trees were 50 years old. They were aprox. 30 years old and there were 50 of them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2009 at 5:26 am

Maybe Victor will get too hot - and move to someplace else. There's a silver lining in everything.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Rose
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 6:27 am

I realized I forgot to mention that Keeble and Shuchat+Country Sun+Molly Stone were represented in CAADA by members belonging to the volunteer organization, not the stores in general.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 19, 2009 at 6:45 am

Interesting. I remodeled my house a few years ago and the garage had to be reconfigured and a new driveway built. The city had prohibited the contractor from building a driveway that would be perpendicular to the street because it would be too close to a very old(and very ugly) city owned magnolia tree in my front yard, so he forced to build a hook shaped driveway that makes it extremely hard to back out of the garage. We constantly end up scraping our cars against the hedge and or driving over sprinklers and plants while trying to back out. The weird shaped driveway has caused us a fortune in damage to our cars and the constant need to replace plants, flowers and sprinklers. On the other hand, dozens of trees are just cut down willy nilly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vince
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 8:28 am

I can see it all now. Another investigation finding that every director and mananger responsible for the reeking mess had left city employmnet to take another job or to retire. No current director or manager had anything to do with it! Didn't even know about it. City Council had no clue and even if they did they were not legally able to do anything to prevent it! Problem solved.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cathy
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 9:31 am

Was shocked when I turned onto California Ave a couple days ago -- I truly thought for a second that I had taken a wrong turn. Unrecognizable. Hideous. Worse than the shocking image of San Antonio Rd. a few months back. At least there was a good reason to clear the center strip of San Antonio since the tree roots had significantly uplifted asphalt where there was heavy car traffic. But no major traffic, no major bumps in California Ave. pavement. Whoever made the decision to clear-cut/make a charming commercial area look like a high desert parking lot for the next 10 years should be fired.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bellesdottir
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:06 am

Okay, so I don't live in Palo Alto anymore, but visualizing what California Avenue looks like now breaks my heart. How, how, how could this happen? Whoever is responsible should pay for taller, older trees to be implanted. Even ten years is too long to wait for the replacement canopy to grow.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Henry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:24 am

The replacement trees are non-natives who shed in the fall which means that for about 6 months of each year the street will look essentially like it's looking right now-a strip mall in Milpitas. Additionally, since the red maple sheds so much, it will create piles of leafs that will have to be cleared with leaf-blowers, a major source of air and noise pollution. For those who wonder, yes, city employed gardeners have gone back to using gasoline leaf-blowers awhile ago, despite the so called ban that no one is enforcing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bikes2work
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:34 am

Facts for Henry,
The cut trees were non-native too. The leaf blower ban has a specific exemption for commercial districts.

Cheryl, the second paragraph of this news article says the trees were 50-years old. I agree with you. That is not accurate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by alyssa
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:46 am

Facts for bike2work,
there are residential neighborhood adjacent to Cal. Ave and I'm sure they'll appreciate the screeching noise pollution and stench produced by hours of leaf blower work necessary to clear the red maple leafs during the fall season. And what is the point of planting trees that are bare for nearly half of each year? Enlighten us please.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Herb Borock
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:48 am

The tree cutting is part of Capital Improvement Program PE-07005 that is managed by the Department of Public Works and that is supposed to have been reviewed by the Architectural Review Board (ARB), the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC), and the Public Arts Commission (PAC). The City Council should direct staff to include in the next City Council agenda packet copies of all staff reports sent to the ARB, PTC, and PAC for public hearings held on this specific public works project. I don't want staff to misinterpret Council direction. I don't mean staff should send the Council the entire Capital Improvement Program document for all projects or send the Council staff reports on the fountain that also used money from this project fund. The City Council and the City Manager need to see the staff reports that went to public bodies that were supposed to hold hearings on the subject of the tree cutting and its relationship to the re-design of California Avenue environment.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by done is done.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 19, 2009 at 11:26 am

What's done is done. The trees have been cut, there's no bringing them back. If people are against red maples, then perhaps its time for people to get off the internet and get into the next city council meeting to propose a better native tree. Ive looked at images of red maples, and find them to be a pretty ugly tree myself. I am hoping that someone has begun to gather relevant information on this issue and will be present at the farmer's market tomorrow to organize some type of action or movement. Palo Altans used to be involved, now all this city does is type whitty banter and snyde comments about how everything under the sun should have been done better.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I drove down California Ave. today, and from the various hysterical comments on this forum, expected to see a disaster. Actually, I was quite impressed by the open new look. Much brighter and friendlier, and is by no means a strip mall look. It looks more like a European village. I think it might be better to skip planting new trees, instead have colorful awnings and umbrellas for shade, puncuated by a few trees.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vince
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Fifty trees were cut in one fell swoop on one street. The City Council and City Manager claim that they did not know that all these trees would be cut down at at once. Many residents and business owners were shocked and surprised that this happened. How much was done to inform the community and to get community feedback before taking this drastic action? Did all of the trees need to be cut at once? If there was a good faith effort to involve the community why are so many people stunned to see what has been done? Who authorized that this be done? Someone in charge who currently works for the City needs to be hauled before the City Council to answer these questions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Darwin
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Oh my god the humanity!....err the Arbority! Or whatever! Lets pick up our pitchforks, torches, and random blunt instruments! We need to have a witchhunt and find who is responsible! ARrrrrrh!


Get a grip people. They're non-native city planted trees. It will be okay. Take a deep breath and exhale. Castro St in Mountain View recently went through the same process a few years back. And I daresay their rejuvenated downtown area is exactly what California St needs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lii
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm

cal ave has a nagasaki- esque flattened look to it now!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by tiphane
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

In other words, the city and merchants believe in how it looks. So perhaps they should just plant plastic trees?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I grew up in the California Ave. neighborhood and now live over by Castro steet in MV. That being said, I'm pretty sure that locals don't want California Ave. becoming the next Castro St.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vince
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Plao Alto City Council meets Monday evenings at Palo Alto City Hall on Hamilton Street downtown. All those who deplore the chopping down of the 50 mature trees all at one time on California Avenue should express their displeasure to the City Council and the City Manager by email as soon as possible. Better yet, send an email, then come to the Council meeting this coming Monday evening to let them know in person what you think about what has been done in the name of the City of Palo Alto. Demand answers! Demand accountability! Don't accept a snow job!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm


The only positive thing about this ecological and aesthetic massacre of innocent trees is that it warns Palo Altans of the much greater horror planned by the the HSR activists.
The policy of deceit and rushing through destructive projects under false pretenses is the game plan of HSR activists,
who ,like the agents involved in the CA Avenue matter, seek personal profit with no accountability.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Whenever there is a change or an event that will impact the neighborhood we get a postcard from the city notifying us. This happens when there are building changes, telling us when there will be hearings and when we can contribute our opinions. Even for something as minor as a concert on California Ave. we get postcard notification.

So what happened to notice from the city on the California Ave tree destruction? If I had gotten a postcard that said they were planning to clear cut 50 trees, I would have been at the Council meeting. Was there a Council meeting?

The city let down everyone who lives near or frequents California Ave and they should have a public forum to explain the process and to take responsibility for the strip mall atmosphere that exists there now.

It's ironic that in the same week when "green" Palo Alto bans plastic bags, Palo Alto kills 50 trees to make-over a charming street that didn't need a make-over. People like California Ave because it has it's own funky little personality, it isn't like Castro Street in Mountain View or University Ave downtown.

If one tree is diseased and needs to be removed, OK remove it. But the trees that were removed were amazingly healthy looking. I would very much like to see the report indicating what was wrong with each and every tree that was cut down this week.













 +   Like this comment
Posted by sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 8:00 pm


The only positive thing about this ecological and aesthetic massacre of innocent trees is that it warns Palo Altans of the much greater horror planned by the the HSR activists.
The policy of deceit and rushing through destructive projects under false pretenses is the game plan of HSR activists,
who ,like the agents involved in the CA Avenue matter, seek personal profit with no accountability.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lewis
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:54 pm

The headline that reads "Canopy 'shocked' at Cal Ave tree removal" reminds me of that scene in Casablanca when Claude Rains declares that he is "shocked" that there is gambling at Rick's Cafe and is then approached by a croupier with his winnings!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by reality check
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:58 pm

"Clear Cutting"?? You fake environmentalists should check your hyperbole at the door. These were nice trees, but glorified houseplants encased in concrete-- and probably not a good choice for a business street


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Darwin-esque
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 19, 2009 at 11:00 pm

To Darwin who prefaced his comment with the fact that he lives in another community.
That's exactly the point: You live in another community.

If you like Castro Street that's great. But the folks who live in Palo Alto who are just sick about the destruction of California Avenue do not want to turn California Avenue into another Castro Street or University Avenue.
The great charm and beauty of California Avenue was that it had timeless charm.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by reality check
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 11:00 pm

PA Native-- Castro Street is beautiful, vibrant and diverse. You dont like that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Otto
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Give me a break, the tree's were deseased, and they are going to replace them anyways. Do the residents of Palo Alto really live such boring and sheltered lives that they have to get all worked up about 50 trees that are going to be replaced anyways? The newspaper used the term "rape of california ave". There are people starving and dying in the world, war, violent rape, real crimes and criminals, and if you want to stay on the subject of trees, acres and acres of rainforests are being demolished every day. Of course I wouldnt expect very many palo alto residents to care much about anything outside of their property line. Get over it, its done. Crying isnt going to make the trees grow back.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eileen Stolee
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 19, 2009 at 11:26 pm

"Canopy Shocked", what a laugh! I think, asleep at the wheel, would be more appropriate.
Time for a regime change?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 20, 2009 at 2:30 am

Heartbreaking. How could this have happened in a city where everything is discussed in excruciating detail, and action often takes years? Although I'm not allowed to vote, I'd love to see a few heads roll over this.

I will be avoiding California Ave. for awhile, as I cannot bear to see the devastation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 20, 2009 at 2:44 am

P.S. To those who claim the trees were diseased--all of them? How convenient. I don't buy it.

Years ago I lived in a "planned community" (usually to be avoided). The trees were beautiful, healthy, and mature. They provided shade in the summer and were in no one's way. We could hear birds singing from our windows. One day I came home to find they'd all been chopped down. Eventually they were replaced by puny, shadeless (and birdless) palm trees, the homeowners' board tree of choice. Lovely trees replaced on a whim by those in power.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 20, 2009 at 3:06 am

Cheryl Rose,

Thanks for mentioning a few of the merchants who supported the tree massacre. I now know which stores to no longer patronize!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2009 at 10:47 am

Nora Charles: One of the major reasons I moved to Palo Alto (not Cupertino et al) was because Palo Alto actually had lovely tall mature TREES (with birds in them, etc.) It's part of the unique character and charm of the city, as compared to other local cities which are sun-beaten concrete wastelands sporting stunted Magnolias (with horrible large leathery leaves) and such.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2009 at 1:30 pm

CAADA wants California Avenue to be developed to the same intensity and with the same uses as University Avenue. Cutting down 50 mature oak trees is the first step.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vince
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 20, 2009 at 1:45 pm

The citizens of Palo Alto need to take back their govenrment, their city from the numb, mindless, arrogant bureaucrats!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by AP
a resident of University South
on Sep 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I don't see anyplace that documents they were diseased. If someone can link this official diagnosis, that would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, I went to the farmer's market like i do every Sunday, and to my horror, the street looked dead. I don't know how it look when these maples were planted in the 80's, but it will take quite some time to restore the feeling that is now gone with those felled trees. I heard nothing of it either, and I read the post fairly regularly. I'm guessing the executing this 'project' would have faced some very tough resistance had it been more publicized. Just follow the money, folks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by M
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I am not sure, but on line information at the Planning Department indicates that the Public Works Department may have begun the California Avenue project, including cutting the trees, before they had approval form the Planning Department, approval they still don't have. Anyway, that is how I read the information on the Planning Department's "Development Center". I could be wrong (I have deleted individuals' names in case I am).


Here are some cuts and pastes from the Planning Department website. It is somewhat cryptically written so I have made certain assumptions about meaning.

The permit was applied for by the Department of Public Works in July. It appears to me that probably the approval was granted but was not to be effective until September 28. (Notice that the address listed is not the site of the work, but is the City Hall on Hamilton, perhaps because the city owns the street).

Tree cutting started on September 14.

Does it make any difference? I don't know. But I think it shows the the process may be sloppy and needs to be reviewed and revised.

Perhaps someone with more knowledge of the process, including the Environmental Impact Report requirements and exceptions to it, could contribute some information.

(NB I did some slight editing for formatting purposes)



07/29/09 250 HAMILTON AV
Request by the Public Works Department, on behalf of the City of
Palo Alto, for minor Architectural Review for street improvements for
California Avenue, between El Camino Real and the Caltrain Station.
(name withheld)
09PLN-00000-00176
CITY OF PALO ALTO
(name withheld)





Case / Application / Permit Number 09PLN-00000-00176

Address 250 HAMILTON AV
PALO ALTO, CA 94301
Parcel Number 120-27-011
File Date 7/29/2009
Status Decision Effective
Status Date 9/28/2009
Valuation $0.00
Fees $1,376.00
Payments $1,376.00
Balance $0.00
Description Request by the Public Works Department, on behalf of the City of Palo Alto, for minor Architectural Review for street improvements for California Avenue, between El Camino Real and the Caltrain Station.

View Map (Click the "Back" button on the browser to return to Permit Manager.)

Contacts

Name (withheld)
Business xxx
Relationship Applicant -
Phone xxx xxxx


Name CITY OF PALO ALTO
Business N/A
Relationship Owner
Phone N/A


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Good work, M.
I see no listing of this item on an ARB agenda.
Maybe Herb Borock or another knowledgeable source can explain if a minor architectural review needs to be in a public.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alison
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 20, 2009 at 6:59 pm

I was shocked to visit California today and see no trees on the sidewalks. I can't believe the City could cut down so many beautiful trees. The City is always talking about being green, how does this constitute being a green action?
Now California Avenue is hot and unshaded and it will cost more for the shops to keep cool. What sort of environmental action is this?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:04 am

Tonight the City Council should initiate a thorough review of the operations of the Public Works Department starting with Glenn Roberts. There have been just too many foul ups, sloppy work, scheduling problems, and mis-communications. It's gone on for years. Sharon Erickson's street audit was an opening salvo, but nothing happened under Benest's watch on that one. Council, start right now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stella B.
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 21, 2009 at 7:43 am

Sad, sad, sad. It will be another 50 years before we get help breathing from those trees.
1 win for global warming. Big Loss, for humanity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Naomi
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 21, 2009 at 7:46 am

I doubt very much that those trees were diseased, certainly not all of them. This entire episode is bizarre. It seems like someone with influence desperately wanted those trees to go and someone in public works obliged.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Facts
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:26 am

Re Canopy's "surprise" -

You all might want to check out the Jun 19 2006 letter from Canopy to the City Council - signed by Susan Rosenberg - which states:

"Canopy handily and heartily endorses the California Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project"

and

"We look forwrd to working with the City and CAADA on this long overdue and very exciting project."

Perhaps a little selective memory is at work here?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

Man, does California Ave. look ugly. But if they go to the 2-lane plan the street will look even uglier with backed-up traffic as people struggle to park. Exhaust fumes can be so wonderful.

If the city's so worried about people tripping, maybe they should walk around Palo Alto and check out the sad shape of many of the sidewalks.

I'm sure the merchants won't mind the loss of revenue or their higher utility bills from the lack of shade.

So glad Palo Alto's moving more to the Oklahoma / Milpitas look. Maybe our taxes and utility bills can drop accordingly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:42 am

It sure is amusing to scroll down & see dire predictions bu my fellow citizenry. "Heads will roll"? Wha'?
Come no. there where articles about this and if you are htat interested in how a city runs, go down tothe city hall and listen to them talk. Or at least download the minutes.
Heads are not going to roll and in a year or two, when everything is put back together, you'll be shocked at some other part of the city getting a face lift.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Andrea
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:45 am

I dont know what the city is thinking. I dont think they thought out what they were doing. I think they're doing it as they go. I don't like the sneakiness behind the tree cutting and I dont like how they dont seem to care what the residents want. Cal Ave looks like it did when I was little. I am truly hoping the new trees will fill this void they have created. I'm all for beautification and all but at what cost? How about they stop spending $$ on that UGLY art. How about they leave that poor little fountain alone and just repair it instead of spending more $ on who knows what they have planned. I will really miss that fountain if its gone and I know many others will as well. I had heard they were going to extend the sidewalks, but now they arent. How about they figure out just what it is they are going to do, and then let us all know.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:59 am

(1) Canopy has failed (at the least) or violated (per the communication reported by Facts) its whole reason for existence.
(2) The city again (as with no referendum time for Lytton Plaza's reinvention) has not acted openly--I'll be very surprised if the project ever went to the Architectural Review Board (ARB), the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC), and the Public Arts Commission (PAC), as listed by Herb Borock (above). If the project had gone to these commissions for discussion, there would have been a note to the public, in the local newspapers.

I for one am getting tired of the city breaking procedural rules set out in city ordinances--rules that were set up to ensure a democratic process.

What does one do with a city administration that breaks such rules? I note that Senator Simitian is coming to town later this week. I think it's time that the state administration got to hear of these violations by the city; I'm not sure that the county administration would be sufficiently impartial.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:05 am

As a frequent California Ave. shopper/diner, I certainly concur with those who have been shocked by the changes. Even if we accept the need for change (I have my doubts), maples will not provide the shade we need for much of the year. I'm a pragmatist -- the trees are gone (sadly) and we can't bring them back. But are there really no better choices available for replacement? Shade year-round and a "green" appearance is much more attractive then a few weeks of red leaves, minimal shade, and a barren look for 6 months/year. City staff, if you're reading this, PLEASE reconsider.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:08 am

I know it's hard to see things change, but that's what life is. Change can be good. The part when it going through the change can be hard, but please make it easy on yourselves and wait for the new to come. Again. if you want to be involved, get involved. You'll fee better about your environment.
Speaking of... have you inspected our cute little fountain? There are bricks and rocks holding up the water spiget coil and the poorly designed base is cracked- it'about to topple over- the morter is crumbling. It's old. Let it go to fountain heaven and remember all the good old days as your happy past.
The new fountain will be in the memories of the children growing up today. It will have the water sound of the orignal one and must keep the same waterline as is - too costly to move it in, or out, or left or right. It might surprise you and have a realy nifty design. Come to the art council meetings and see the designs they'll be looking at, or at least watch them on channel 26.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:35 am


WOW this is remarkably shocking!!! Canopy has a lot to answer for!


Posted by Facts, a resident of another community, 54 minutes ago

Re Canopy's "surprise" -

You all might want to check out the Jun 19 2006 letter from Canopy to the City Council - signed by Susan Rosenberg - which states:

"Canopy handily and heartily endorses the California Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project"

and

"We look forwrd to working with the City and CAADA on this long overdue and very exciting project."

Perhaps a little selective memory is at work here?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Arlene Traub
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:50 am

In final tribute to the fallen trees, which served so many for so long, and to help us deal with our huge personal loss, we are holding a candlelight memorial service for the trees this coming Thursday, Sept. 24 at 7pm (around sundown). We will meet at the fountain near the train station and, carrying lighted candles, walk past all the tree stumps. Please feel free to join us.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:58 am

This kind of incident seems to indicate the weakness in the oft repeated claim that we enjoy the one of the best managed cities around. And that the employees are all exceptional too with current high management and employee compensation well worth it. We are certainly not the worst but not the best either.

If you drive or walk much around our town you know that there are lots of problem streets and sidewalks. Seems like we should get those fixed to an acceptable level before completely remodeling California Avenue. When paving and repairs are done there is frequently subsequent work that tears up the earlier paving-underground water or sewer or cable.

Also, don't know if it is the same city arborist involved but about 10 years ago a neighbor (a widow in her late 70s) phoned to say that tree workers would be taking down the approximately 100 year old maple that grew in her yard right by my back fence. Her side neighbor complained of branches falling, so the widow got a tree company out who pronounced the tree diseased, and in need of immediate removal for $12,000!

I asked my neighbor to wait while I got a second opinion and immediately phoned the city arborist, who was not in. I left him a detailed message with location and circumstances. No call back the next day so I called and left a message again. Three days later he called back saying he went out that day and did not see any sign of disease.

Too late-the tree by then was over half gone as the tree people slowly worked their way through it to justify the $12,000 fee. Now our neighborhood is deprived of both the shade and majesty of a 100 year old and over 100 foot tall maple.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Claude Ezran
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I find the statement by the planners of this massacre that "acorn fruits are tripping hazards for pedestrians" a bit of an exaggeration. How many acorn-related injuries can they report? Maybe, using the same flawed logic and excess of caution, they will soon advise the city to close all hiking trails because they have way too many tripping risks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brent
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Regarding Communications

Most of the leadership in the City and in the various associations seem to be trying to position the problem as simply a breakdown in communications – "I didn't know, he/she didn't know, if only we knew, the public should have been better informed, we need better outreach, we'll do it right next time, darn it."

The real problem was one of flawed decision making, from top to bottom. One of the flawed decisions was to cut the trees down quickly before the public could object.

Regarding Decision Making

This wasn't a decision about replacing the trees. This was a decision about replacing the character of California Avenue. That's the real tragedy. That's why the anguish, the outrage caught the City off guard, leading them to finger pointing and denial.

Tree cutting was just the first in a series of bad decisions about to compound the problem -- from planting a monoculture of deciduous trees, to restriping the street to decrease the traffic flow, and spending precious taxpayer dollars on a misguided effort to make this a second downtown.

Going Forward

Modify the plan with public involvement, not limited to the insiders of City staff, CAADA, Canopy, and the consulting industry.

Replant the street with large, non-deciduous trees of varying species to quickly repair the damage, provide necessary shade to businesses and shoppers, and prevent mass extinction from disease in the future.

Stop telling us we are going to love it when it is all done ten or fifteen years down the road. You've killed off one of the best streets in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Roger
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Kudos to Brent (the comment before this one). He is helping us clear the misinformation: Again the move to "beautify" California Avenue was a plan to CHANGE the CHARACTER of California Avenue. He is right, action has to be taken NOW to correct the damage that had been done and to prevent further Public Works plans (street narrowing, etc) from occurring. If we don't do this NOW we only have ourselves to blame!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by true
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm

a visitor to the tree city asks,''what are those stumps?!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vince
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Brent is correct in his summary of this textbook example of city government dysfunction. City mMnager Keene and some City Council members seem to be compounding the problem with a combination of "I didn't know" and "Let's move on".

Not so fast.

How did this happen? Who is responsible for the poor decision-making that Brent writes about in his posting? Most of all, will anybody at Palo Alto City Hall ever be made accountable? How can everyone move forward when the moral hazard of no consequences for terrible decisions prevails.

The dirty laundry needs to be aired in order to make things right now and for the future. Then everyone can "move on".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I think it is ironic that at the top of this page is a prominent "re-elect Larry Klein" ad. He is on the city council--he is claiming that he did not know--let's see under his current tenure on the council we have had the PACT problem, the HSR fiasco and now this.
Also, where is Kishimoto in all this--she is on the council--did she not know either? She is the "queen of green" in the city. Maybe she is keeping a low profile to prepare herself for an assembly run. however she is damaged goods--she advocated for the HSR and then claimed she did not know what the hole HSr thing involved--now is she claiming that she did not know about the California Avenue project.
what about Pat Burt--isn't he the liaison for the Cal. Ave business district from the council--he also claims he did not know. Get the picture? The council, Canopy, Dave Dockter all did not know--yet there is evidence that they did know.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Facts
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Re: lack of out reach and neighborhood involvement; College Terrace residents in particular.

You might want to take a look at the June 19, 2006 letter to the City Council from the CTRA (College Terrace Residents Association) regarding the California Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project, which was signed by Greg Tanaka, CTRA President. That letter starts:

" On behalf of the Board of Directors for the CTRA, I'm writing to convey our strong support for the Streetscape Improvements Project on California Avenue between El Camino Real and the CalTrain station".

It concludes:

"We believe that now is the right time and California Avenue is the right place for this transformation...."

Sounds like neighborhood involvement and support to me.

Check your facts before you rush to judgement, folks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by High Pockracy
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 3:26 pm

One of Larry Klein's re-election campaign co-chairs, Susan Rosenberg, wrote a letter in 2006 on behalf of Canopy in support of the changes to California Avenue. Klein's other campaign co-chair, Bob Harrington, posted the first message in response to the story about Canopy not knowing that the trees were going to be cut down. Maybe Rosenberg and Harrington should become co-chairs of the campaign to help Glenn Roberts keep his job as Director of Public Works.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Regardless of the College Terrace Residents Assn endorsement, the rest of the areas contiguous to California Avenue had little knowledge (and I am kind in this assessment) of the City's plans.

I work on Cambridge Avenue and today (9-21-09) I received, FOR THE FIRST TIME, the "Project Notification Update" about the "California Avenue Streetscape Improvements" stating the Project Start Date (9-14-09) and Project End Date (11-25-09). Again, I received this notice TODAY! What does that say about the integrity of the PA Public Works Department.
We need to clearly examine the rest of the plan to "improve" California Avenue. I agree with Brent and wholeheartedly endorse what he said:
"Replant the street with large, non-deciduous trees of varying species to quickly repair the damage, provide necessary shade to businesses and shoppers, and prevent mass extinction from disease in the future.

Stop telling us we are going to love it when it is all done ten or fifteen years down the road. You've killed off one of the best streets in Palo Alto."

Let's make our voices known to the City Council and undue the damage that has already been done.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Has Greg Tanaka also claimed that he did not know about the project, now that the you know what has hit the fan and people are running to cover themselves? Seems that people knew about it, but are being disingenuous or just plain lying about what they knew.
Isn't this a good reason to vote Larry Klein out of office come November?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Herb Borock makes the essential point: where is the evidence indicating that 3 commissions were consulted about this tree-axing project before the work was done?

By law that's the procedure. Was it followed?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Facts
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:56 pm

To "jardins" (gardens?)-

Re: the "law" as you cite it

Palo Alto process provides for ARB review either at a staff level or by the Board, at the discretion of the Planning Department.
This project received staff level ARB review, in conformance with the "law".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vince
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Dear "Facts"

Did City Council approve chopping down of all 50 oak trees all at once? Or 25 oak trees now, 25 later? If not, exactly what did they approve along the lines of tree chopping on California Avenue. If they did not approve any tree chopping, were the Planning and Transportation Commission or the Architectural Review Board asked to review whether the 50 trees should be chopped down? Or 25 oak trees now, 25 later?

If they did not who eactly within City Hall reviewed and approved or agreed to chopping down the 50 trees all at once?

I await your answer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To Arlene Traub
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 21, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Dear Arlene - thank you for the chuckle about the candlelight vigil for the felled trees. It was a great joke! Um, you were joking, right?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bobby
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 22, 2009 at 4:46 am

The Holly Oak trees were unattractive (IMHO), made a mess when they dropped their acorns, and some of them were diseased. I don't enjoy looking at a naked street, certainly, but the red maple trees will give a much nicer look once they are planted.

The fact that Palo Alto residents continue to manufacture controversies such as this, rather than focus on more substantive issues, amazes me. Why more people don't object to the disproportionate increase in the cost of city utilities, business unfriendly zoning restrictions and tax policies, and incessant increase in cost of living in the city, is beyond me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donna Ditz
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 22, 2009 at 4:54 am

As we all know, the oak trees had to die, due to the public risks presented by ACORNs! Public money to ACORN has recently been cut off, due to the massive voter fraud perpetuated by ACORN and unethical behavior by its employees!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter and Denise Burris
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 22, 2009 at 8:47 am

We are Resident Managers of the Hotel California. Although our address is on Ash Street, several of our rooms face directly onto California Ave and were greatly impacted by the cutting of the trees.
We were not advised in advance that this work was to be done. We could have made allowances for this disturbance had we known.
Guess what???? Just yesterday we received a letter from City of Palo Alto Public Works Department advising us of the project.
Dear Kate Rooney: the cow is out of the barn.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by HateAid
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 22, 2009 at 10:01 am

Donna Ditz, that's a riot. Thanks for the giggle.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TreeHugger
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Plant drought tolerant, preferably native species of tree--broadleaf evergreens, not deciduous.

Fire all employees involved in this, without paying "settlements."

Reduce Canopy's duties.

Vote out all incumbents on the City Council, whenever they run.

Vote for anyone else for Assembly--there are lots of other candidates-- vote for an out-of-towner for a change, one committed to stopping HSR as well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm

"These trees were old, they were not healthy, they were not appropriate to this environment, it was time for us to put something in that was more appropriate" said Elizabeth Bishop, a member of the CAADA and property owner, on Channel 5 news.

Web Link

This says a lot about CAADA's attitude - I have to wonder if people like this were pushing hard to get the trees chopped ASAP lest there be a controversy during the 14 day waiting period.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2009 at 7:29 am


As I bear witness to the ruins, it occurs to me a that the
California Avenue designation will no longer do. Perhaps
these humble suggestions are in closer conformance with current
conditions:

Wyoming Ave
Mojave Lane
Desolation Row (my personal favorite)

Other offerings are most welcome.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2009 at 7:48 am

Shallow Alto Grove?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Kahn
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:50 am

Here's a link to photos that I took last weekend of California Avenue and the tree stumps after the mass deforestation:
Web Link

I was born and raised in Palo Alto, just a few years older than these trees. It was shocking to see the street "bald" and it is an unfortunate negative example showing us just how much urban forests provide to us - shade, oxygen, beauty, connection with nature...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 26, 2009 at 9:56 am

FYI

Renowned arborist Barrie D. Coate will speak on tree selection for the replanting of California Avenue at noon, Sunday (tomorrow), September 27 at the California Avenue Farmer's Market in an area next to Paul's European Cobblery at Ash Street. His remarks will be followed by a question period from attendees.

Mr. Coate is a registered consulting arborist with more than 50 years of horticultural experience. He is Director of the Saratoga Horticultural Research Foundation, current arboricultural consultant to the J. Paul Getty Museum, author of numerous books, and regular contributor to Western Arborist Magazine.

This event is organized by citizens addressing the need for direct access to expert tree replacement information.

Please download and help disseminate the flyer at the following web link
Web Link

Thank you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jan
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2009 at 8:21 pm

A few thoughts after the Cal Ave Clear Cut:
I've happily shopped and strolled on California Ave hundreds of times in the last 20 years. Never once tripped over an acorn or any other obstruction. Didn't even notice any.
After I finished my regular visit to Country Sun the other day, I had a strong urge to spend some time in downtown Los Altos. They still have trees there, I believe.
The idea of replacing with California native trees is nice, but urban street trees are in an extremely unnatural situation, so I think you just have to use anything that will survive, no matter where it comes from.
I hope we will soon ind out how this sad event happened. Will our newspapers investigate and tell us the full story? It's shocking that whoever is responsible for this stupid action apparently didn't realize that the citizens would be outraged. Or is that why it was rushed through without notice?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lydia
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 26, 2009 at 11:47 pm

California Ave looks and feels sick.

City employees are given extensive reviews for hire. What lame brain thought process was going on here?

Palo Alto: hold a memorial service in honor of the 63 Holly Oak trees.

These, like all downed trees, will be forgotten when the cosmetic flaw is filled in. Once I watched in horror as an entire apricot orchard was wiped out in an hour. The birds, lost for a time, circled in the air. The birds are often forced into tolerance by humans.

When you josh at locals who are deeply hurt by this sad event; you who call them "liberals;" your political mouth of ignorance is evident.

THINK AGAIN! A living tree provides YOU with oxygen.


When the first tree was being sawed, why didn't someone -- a shop keeper, a pedestrian...call City Hall? Or, were all the trees chopped down at the same time?

To the lady who wants to boycott businesses: narrow thinking.
The business owners were advised that the trees needed to go.
Who cut down the trees? Who made the error?

In Mountain View (near Bubb Park & Miramonte area) on someone's front lawn is a tall palm tree wrapped in yellow tape: "heritage tree removal." Aren't Heritage trees a forever thing?

Leaf blowers are alive and well in Mountain View. The air blasted in dust and fumes, Mtn. View folk have yet to figure out how to mow or rake -- in peace and harmony with nature.

Palo Alto: watch out for the "unenforced" leaf blower law -- the "exceptions"to the rule.
As the 63 felled trees went; before you know it gardeners will be blowing dust in your face too.

Condolences.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Will
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 27, 2009 at 12:22 am

Dave Dockter, Environmental Planner/Landscape Advisor, ASCA, ISA, APA
"Our Community Tree Canopy is a measurable utility providing infrastructure-based services and dividends, and is your local front line of defense against global climate change..."

Trees, (not Canopy) are the front line of defense against global climate change. With your City title, followed with ASCA, ISA, APA after your name; you should have been aware - and understand the incredible value of trees.
Your comments come across as "bureaucratic jargon," empty of substance; smoke screen jargon.

If I were to hire an environmentalist, the first denominator would be that he has respect for the nature around him/her.
Mr Dockter, I don't know you, but I didn't get that from what you said. I suppose you have to pay lip service to your superiors.
Down with those trees!


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Opening alert: Zola, in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 3,470 views

Middle Class Scholarship for incomes up to $150,000!
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 5 comments | 2,380 views

Men Are Good For Three Things
By Laura Stec | 20 comments | 2,316 views

Two creative lights depart Palo Alto, leaving diverse legacies
By Jay Thorwaldson | 2 comments | 1,349 views

Reducing Council Size? Against
By Douglas Moran | 11 comments | 1,003 views